If there were a hierarchy of furniture in your home, you might think that ottomans would be way down on the list, after sofas, tables and chairs.
But Frank de Biasi, a New York-based interior designer with an international clientele, sees it differently. “The ottoman is as important as the sofa,” he said, because it helps make a room feel relaxed and inviting. “It’s a comfort thing.”
That’s why ottomans are especially well suited to “rooms where people are going to watch TV and hang out,” he said. “Oftentimes, we’ll do an ottoman as a centerpiece between a sofa and two chairs — you can put a tray of drinks on it, as well as your feet.”
• When you’re choosing an ottoman, Mr. de Biasi said, “Size is crucial —especially the height. You want the ottoman to be at least an inch lower than your sofa or chair. You don’t want your feet going uphill, or down too low.”
• Consider the importance of mobility: “Do you want it to move around,” Mr. de Biasi asked, “or just sit there?” If it needs to be mobile, look for a piece that’s lightweight or on casters.
• Should it be leggy or chunky? Mr. de Biasi said he frequently uses ottomans as a counterpoint to other furniture: “If everything else is big and upholstered, it’s nice to have an ottoman that’s a little more airy, on higher feet.”